Winners Named in USC Libraries Research Award

USC Libraries Research Award
Research Award winners photo

Research Award winners Morgan Harler, Sophie Hammond, Edward Mack, Ryan Nhu, Bridgett Purcell, and Judy Zhou with Chairs Elizabeth Galoozis and Michaela Ullmann.

In an online reception held on April 28, 2021, the USC Libraries announced the winners of the annual Research Award competition, honoring exceptional student research completed at USC in a for-credit class or through independent study during the previous calendar year. Undergraduates may use either the reference and research resources of the USC Libraries or primary source materials held by the university’s Special Collections, while graduate students must make use of the latter in their essays.

Students are also required to write a reflective essay that addresses the impact of the Libraries' services and/or resources on the student's work and on their growth as a researcher. Students wrote about their engagement and gratitude for a wide variety of resources and services, particularly during the pandemic, including (but not limited to) interlibrary loan, information literacy instruction and subject librarians, Special Collections, the USC Digital Library, and data resources.

Nine prizes total were awarded from over 60 submissions, a record number for the Research Award; they are listed below. In a first, one student won awards in both the undergraduate and graduate category for work in both undergraduate and graduate courses.

Graduate prizes:

First prize: Judy Zhou, a first-year PhD student in Biokinesiology and a recent Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate, for “Infant reaching in the first year of life: a scoping review of typical development and examples of atypical development"

Second prize: Ryan Nhu, a senior majoring in Creative Writing; Law, History, and Culture, for "Violent Affect(ions), Queer Desires,” written for Viet Thanh Nguyen’s class English 504: Theories of Race, Class, and Gender

Undergraduate prizes:

First prize: Christopher Aranda, a junior majoring in history, for “Mickey’s Army: Frontierland in the Creation of the American Western Myth,” written for History 457: The American West, taught by Alice Baumgartner

First prize: Sophie Hammond, a senior majoring in history and English, for the history honors thesis, “‘The Moral Regeneration of Civilized Humanity’: Bourgeois Women’s Movements in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna,” advised by Paul Lerner

First prize: Ryan Nhu, a senior majoring in Creative Writing; Law, History, and Culture, for “Compromising: On Richard Aoki, Midcentury Radicalism, and the Limits of Solidarity,” written as an independent research project in History for Professor Alice Echols

Second prize: Morgan Harler, a senior majoring in political science, for “Social Identity Theory Skews 27 Emotions Study: An Investigation of Political Polarization and Emotions,” an experimental honors thesis in political science

Second prize: Edward Mack, majoring in international relations, for “Of Millets and Murder: A Discourse on the Ottoman Genocides, From Cause to Effect,” written for International Relations 437: Comparative Genocide, taught by Patrick James

Third prize: Annie Li, a freshman majoring in Business Administration and Accounting, for “It's Not Just the Devil That Wears Prada,” written for Deborah Sims’ Writing 150 class

Third prize: Bridgett Purcell, a senior majoring in French and Communication, for “Of Myths and (Wo)men: The International Implications of the Enlightenment in “Voltaire to Jeanne Antoinette Pompadour—1750 August 20,” written for French 370: Equality and Difference around the Enlightenment, taught by Natania Meeker

The judges for this year's awards included: USC Libraries faculty and staff Anthony Anderson, Amy Chatfield, Lisa Marie Crow, Nora DeVita, Elizabeth Galoozis, Sandra Garcia-Myers, Samir Ghosh, Cari Kaurloto, Eddie Loh, Sophie Lesinska, Sue Luftschein, Suzi Noruschat, Michael Oliveira, Bree Russell, Linda Truong, Michaela Ullmann, and Ruth Wallach; Jennifer Sopchockchai Bankard of the USC Dornsife Writing Program, Joan Flores-Villalobos of the USC Dornsife History Department, Carmen Lee of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Cory Nelson of the USC Dornsife Writing Program and the Writing Center, and Ashley Uyeshiro of the USC Chan Division of Occupational Therapy; along with last year’s student winners Matthew Tomazic and Michael Anthony Turcios.

The USC Libraries Research Awards, which began as a Dean’s Challenge Grant under the direction of Special Collections librarians Sue Luftschein and Michaela Ullmann, are now generously supported by Adam Matthew Digital and Johnson Rare Books & Archives.

To learn more about the USC Libraries Research Awards, or to find out how to submit a paper for next year's competition, visit